VoIP isn’t new; I recall even having a rather poor-quality system back in 1984. Even before that, AT&T and Bell Labs experimented with a form of this technology, as early as the mid-1960s, when the beginning of the computer revolution was silently happening, right outside our windows.
VoIP software used to be all the rage among developers, especially during the days of limited bandwidth (primarily dialup or low end DSL). But real, working VoIP software was a novelty until the end of the 1990s; when broadband had become standard for most financially comfortable companies. At this time, technology in the audio-digital market improved exponentially and providers began creating high-quality products.
Within a short time-span, new telecommunication programs erupted onto the scene; First as features in IM systems like AIM or the like, but, not long after that, it seems everyone was using VOIP. Dedicated were released that made VoIP not only cheaper but more practical. They made using traditional landline or analog voice services – obsolete.
Today, VoIP is more popular than ever, and given that in due time, it will replace all the old fashioned systems, it’s better to go ahead and get with the program, right? With so many choices out there, you may wonder… what is the best? Well, this is one area where I have a lot of experience and a lot to say; here are the top 3 I recommend.
#1 – Skype
Developed by an Estonian team, this service is one of the first VoIP software titles to really take off. Skype transformed the concept into practicality. Call quality is usually pretty good, and working the call functions easy; you just clicking on bright, clear and simple buttons. Like Google, you can also use text messaging, call outgoing phone numbers and set up call forwarding.
Like Google, though, land lines and mobile cost you (very little, though).
Because Skype is designed with a similar mindset to IM systems, in that it has a social functionality, you feel as though you are in a social network. In my opinion this element is annoying; You can and will be bothered by random people, who ask to be added to your contact list. Luckily you can customize your privacy settings and control how visible you are to the public, as well as your personal contact list.
#2 – Google Voice
Oh my god, I love Google Voice. It’s so convenient, so competent and so very easy to use. Google’s services almost never disappoint (Ok, a few exceptions exist, such as Google Wave), but on the whole Google is fantastic; and Voice is fantastic.
“Make calls to any phone — right from within Gmail.” You can easily access Voice from your Google account, by clicking a phone icon in your Gmail page, or through the main menu. You get a very simple form where you are given a telephone style keypad to punch in the digits (or just paste a number in the textbox. You can call other Google Voice users, or dial any regular outgoing number for free. You can also request an incoming number so others may call you, from their phones; they will be redirected to your Voice account, or other VoIP services that you choose. I use Voice as my regular phone. It’s that reliable.
The only issue with Voice is that the mobile version charges you, requiring you to purchase minutes.
#3 – Fring
Fring is exclusively designed for mobile users, and it solves a dilemma faced by using the other two VoIP programs –that of payment; Fring is completely free. It allows you total access, without added expense. Fring allows you to call phone numbers, other Fring users, and even has SIP compatibility to work with complex phone services, (which is something Voice and Skype don’t do very well).
If you’re interested in mobile VoIP software, consider Fring, which is compatible with all other major platforms. Oh and it has a great customer service team accessible 24/7.
VoIP has come a long way since it first trial days in the market. Voice, Skype, and Fring are the top VoIP software for business. There are many other options available, check them out and see which one best suits your needs. Good Luck!